Round Island Lighthouse - Lake Huron

Round Island Lighthouse – Lake Huron

Round Island Lighthouse Side View

The Round Island Lighthouse is the only structure on an uninhabited island in Lake Huron, yet it is one of Michigan’s most visible and memorable lighthouses. The lighthouse lies on the west end of Round Island, but is seen by thousands of tourists each day in the summer due to its close proximity to Mackinac Island. The lighthouse’s red and white brick design also helps it stand out among upper Great Lakes lighthouses. While the lighthouse was once on the verge of collapse, preservation efforts not only led to it being restored but the light being turned back on as well.

Round island Lighthouse Blue Water

This lighthouse was built in 1895 and served as active beacon until 1947. It was replaced by the Mackinac Island Crib Light (also called the Round Island Passage Light), which sits in the channel between the two islands. This is an incredibly important shipping lane for boats entering or exiting the St. Mary’s River on their way to or from Lake Superior. A Michigan historical marker can be on Mackinac Island’s southeast shore with the lighthouse in sight, and tells more about the history of Round Island Lighthouse:

Round Island Lighthouse Michigan History Marker

The Round Island Lighthouse, seen south of this site, was completed in 1895. Operating under the auspices of the United States Government, this facility was in continuous use for fifty-two years. It was manned by a crew of three until its beacon was replaced by an automated light in 1924. A sole caretaker occupied and operated the station from 1924 to 1947. Following the construction of a new automatic beacon near the breakwater off the south shore of Mackinac Island, the lighthouse was abandoned. The United States Forest Service now supervises the structure which is located in the Hiawatha National Forest. The lighthouse serves as a sentinel for the past, reminding visitors of the often precarious sailing and rich history of the Straits of Mackinac.

Round Island Lighthouse Mackinac Island

The lighthouse can be seen in the 1980 film Somewhere in Time starring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour. In the film, the two lovers row out to the lighthouse while spending the day together.┬áIn addition to private boats, the other ways to see this light are from Shepler’s, Star Line, or Arnold ferries to Mackinac Island or Shepler’s Lighthouse Cruises. Check out our Photo Gallery Friday: Shepler’s Eastbound Lighthouse Cruise for photos of this light and others that can be seen on the cruise. Nearby lighthouses include the Bois Blanc Island Lighthouse and the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse.